Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review of Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Book:  Once a Witch
Author:  Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher:  Clarion Books
Pages:  292

From Goodreads:  Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

I've always enjoyed stories, television shows, and movies about witches.  Something about them intrigues me and makes me want to learn more.  With all of the young adult paranormal novels out there I was very excited about this one because finally it was about witches!  This was very cute and easy read...in fact I read it in one sitting.  It was light and enjoyable and completely refreshing after all of the darker young adult novels out there.  I instantly started character crushing on Gabriel the minute he was introduced.  He was the perfect partner for Tamsin, who was pretty kick butt herself.  The characters were all easy to relate to and the writing really pulled me into the story.  I'm still confused about the theme of "time/clocks"...any ideas?  Maybe we'll find out in the sequel Always a Witch due out August of 2011.    

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review of The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado

Book:  The Christmas Candle
Author:  Max Lucado
Publisher:  WestBow Press
Pages:  192

From Goodreads:  Journey back to a simpler time, to a small English village where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens.  Except at Christmastime.  When a mysterious angel suddenly appears in a lowly candlemaker's shop, the holy and the human collide in a way that only God could imagine. Glowing bright with a timeless message, The Christmas Candle will warm your heart with a surprising reminder of God's bountiful love.

I read this book for the Holiday Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by All About {n}.  It was a really fast read, in fact I read it in about one hour.  Holiday stories are suppose to be uplifting and make you feel all warm and cozy inside.  The Christmas Candle definitely had the whole uplifting story about hope and faith but I don't think it was detailed enough.  I like the plot and I think the idea behind the story is original, but the supporting details just weren't there.  I felt like I was just getting a quick overview of a story instead of the whole thing.  Another thing that bothered me is that there were typically less than 100 words on a page.  I felt as if I was a beginning reader with how this novel printed.  Overall, I was kind of disappointed with my first Holiday read of the season.    

Review of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Book:  Hush, Hush
Author:  Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages:  391

From GoodreadsFor Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.  With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.  For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

So I've heard a ton of good things about this book and with it's sequel Crescendo hitting stands last month I wanted to make sure I read Hush, Hush first.  This book was good and kept my attention but I think the hype may have set my hopes too high.  There were times that I found the characters confusing and annoying, especially Nora's best friend Vee.  I did like Nora and Patch and how their relationship developed, even against the odds.  Patch was definitely that confident, gorgeous guy that every girl takes a second look at.  He seemed dark and brooding and at the same time you just didn't want to believe that he could possibly be the bad guy.  The plot took some unexpected turns that made me want to keep reading but at the end I wasn't really satisfied.    

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review of Paranormalcy By Kiersten White

Book:  Paranormalcy
Author:  Kiersten White
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Pages:  335

From GoodreadsEvie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal. 

First, I have to talk about how gorgeous this cover is.  If you can walk by this book at a store and not look twice, you might want to check your pulse.  Plus the dress on the cover is simply AMAZING!  Ok, enough gushing about the cover.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I loved how it tied all paranormal creatures together into one novel.  Evie was a fun and flirty main character that almost anyone can relate to in a kick butt heroine who just wanted to be a normal girl, kind of way.  White did a great job with the character development between Evie and Lend.  Their romance was cute and you couldn't help but cheer for them.  Another thing that is totally unrelated but have to talk about is how when Evie went to swear she said "Bleep" instead.  I thought is was nice to keep the novel clean and pure like Evie herself.   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review of Beautiful Darkness By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Book:  Beautiful Darkness 
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published By:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages:  503

From Goodreads Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.  Sometimes life-ending.  Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

This book had some of the wonderful features of Beautiful Creatures such, as the unique supporting characters and amazing writing.  Who wouldn't love a Seer as a housekeeper, crazy great aunts, and a rebel best friend?  I love that the point of view of this novel is from Ethan's perspective instead of Lena's.  I don't know if I could have handled Lena's perspective as I thought she was annoying at times in this novel.  It was hard to understand her hot and cold emotions until certain events were reveled later in the novel.  Garcia and Stohl have a fantastic writing style that transports us in the Southern Gothic feel of this novel.  Beautiful Darkness, as it's title suggests, is much darker than it's prequel and often times confusing.  I felt myself having to go back and reread things especially when they were in the tunnels.  Overall, this was a good book, but I still enjoyed Beautiful Creatures more.       

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

So it's almost 2011 and that means a whole new season of books.  This year I'm going to participate in the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.  Challenge yourself to try new authors, you just might find a new favorite.  You can sign up at The Story Siren's website.  There are so many 2011 Debut Authors to choose from that I haven't made up my mind on which ones to read, but here are a couple of them!

Have fun reading!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review of Turtle Moon By Alice Hoffman

Book:  Turtle Moon
Author:  Alice Hoffman
Published by:  Vintage
Pages: 288

From GoodreadsVerity, home to more divorced women from New York than any other town in Florida, is where Lucy moves with her son Keith to get away from her ex. But when Keith runs off with a baby, after the child's mother is murdered, the stage is is set for mayhem, thrills, and unexpected romance.

I loved Practical Magic by Hoffman and so wanted to read more of her books.  I read Turtle Moon during my traveling time for my morning and afternoon commute.  It was easy to pick up and read a couple of pages at a time, but at the end I gave in and continued reading even after I was at work (during my lunch hour of course).  I love the unexplained magic in Hoffman's books.  She does a great job with magical realism where you can actually imagine that this magic is a part of everyday life and not just fantasy.  Her writing is almost lyrical and captures you into the scene immediately.  So in parting, I'll leave you with my favorite passage from the book:  "Every May, when the sea turtles begin their migration across West Main Street, mistaking the glow of the streetlights for the moon, people go a little bit crazy.  At least one teenage boy comes close to slamming his car right into the gumbo-limbo tree that grows beside the Burger King.  Girls run away from home, babies cry all night, ficus hedges explode into flame..."      

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of If I Stay By Gayle Forman

Book:  If I Stay

Author:  Gayle Forman
Published by:  Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 199        

From Goodreads:  In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
I've heard a lot of good things about this book so I was excited to read it, but I have to admit I've been putting it off for a while.  I knew there were going to be very sad and tragic parts to this novel and therefore, I had to be in the right mood to read it--kind of like the mood you're in when you want to watch a sappy movie.  I'm glad I waited because this book totally consumed me.  I loved how Forman varied Mia's past memories with that of her current situation.  It seemed like whenever the book got to be too much and I would start to tear up, Forman would switch to a memory of Mia's, often times making me smile or laugh out loud.  This helped me continuing reading this book and not be overwhelmed by sadness.  This book definitely makes you think about if Mia and ultimately yourself (if in this situation) would stay.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review of Graceling By Kristin Cashore

Book:  Graceling
Author:  Kristin Cashore
Published by:  Graphia
Pages:  480

From Goodreads:  Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I absolutely adored this book.  Graceling was a wonderful debut novel for Cashore with a new take on paranormal.  This novel was very well written, with enough action and adventure, and a touch of romance to make it hard to put down.  Katsa was the perfect lead character who was strong not only physically but also in character.  You could easily relate not only to Katsa, but to most of the main characters in the novel.  Some of these characters were more well rounded than others, but that's to be expected when you have so many in one novel.  Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I can't wait to read the prequel, Fire. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My name is Lisa and I'm new to blogging.  I love books and I thought this would be a great way to talk about books and get others opinions on them.  I read a variety of books but mostly current fiction and young adult.  So to start off my blog I guess the first thing I'd like to know is what is everyone's favorite book?  If you're like me and have too many to choose from just list the top couple.